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Why Iran should get the bomb: A review of Waltz's perspective



Monday, 27 November, 2012: The acclaimed neo-realist theorist Kenneth Waltz is of the view that Iran should go nuclear. He believes that a nuclear Iran will bring nuclear stability in the Middle East region. There have been historical enmity and callous relationship between Iran and the US and her ally Israel. The tensions have been recently been exacerbated by Iran’s nuclear ambition. The West has responded to these attempts by slapping Tehran with numerous sanctions and trade embargos on her goods.

The implications of Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been written and widely argued on how dangerous such a move will be. Most US, European and Israel commentators and policymakers warn that a nuclear-armed Iran would be the worst possible outcome of the standoff on uranium enrichment in Iran. A number of avenues have been postulated on how to deal with the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program. As noted earlier, sanctions have been used to punish Iran but they have relentlessly pursued the desire for nuclear technology.  Analysts have seen this measure as futile since Iran is determined to pursue her security agenda by possessing nuclear technology, just like the other world super powers. By the look of things, Iran is not willing to drop its nuclear ambition. 

The implications of such a move can also be interpreted with a positive touch. Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly, which has endured for close to five decades now, has long fueled instability in the region. Regional balance of power in the Middle East can be stabilized with a nuclear Iran. Kenneth Waltz has argued that the fear of a reprisal attack on Israel by Iran is grossly exaggerated. This has completely distorted the positives of such a move by Iran. There have been misjudged arguments that the Ayatollahs and whole Iranian system is irrational and will hit Israel after acquiring a bomb. On the contrary, Iran as a state wants to compete with other developed nations around the world. History has shown us that when countries acquire nuclear arsenal, they feel increasingly vulnerable and become acutely aware of the dangers posed therewith. 

In 1991, the historical rivals of India and Pakistan signed a treaty agreeing not to target each other nuclear facilities. The two, by virtue of such an agreement respect each other and brought about balance of power in the region. It’s for this reason that Waltz argues that a nuclear Iran will bring about more stability in the Middle East region. A nuclear Iran will bring stability and possibly mend relations with Israel. Who knows?            

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